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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Smile

A Smile
Author Unknown

A smile costs nothing but gives much.  

It enriches those who receive, without making poorer those who give it.

It takes only a moment, but the memory of it can sometimes last forever.

No one is so rich or mighty that they can get along without it, and no one is so poor that they cannot be made rich by it.

A smile creates happiness in the home, fosters goodwill in business and is the countersign of friendship.

It brings rest to the weary, cheer to the discouraged, and sunshine to the sad.

It is nature's best antidote in times of trouble - yet it can not be begged, bought, borrowed, or stolen, for it is of no value to anyone unless it's given away.

Some people are too tired to give you a smile... Give them one of yours - as no one needs a smile as much as he or she who has no more to give!

Pass a smile on today!  :-)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Memorial Day - We Remember

Memorial Day is about giving thanks.  It's about remembering and honoring those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. 

On this Memorial Day, please remember that freedom isn't free.  That we here are today because of all those have fought and served, and those who continue to serve - in order to protect our freedom.

The veterans who fought for our country were amongst the most humble and modest people.  I had two grandfathers who fought in World War II.  They never talked about what they did, but you knew the pain was there.  They were just young men at the time of the war, and they saw and experienced a lot for their youth.  The grew up fast.  They learned quickly how tomorrow isn't guaranteed, as they saw it taken from so many of their friends.

Please remember to give thanks to those who sacrificed it all for each and every one of us.  Hang your flag.  Visit a local cemetary and place flags on the veterans graves.  If you see a veteran, thank him!

Have a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Today is Beautiful

Today is blessed - be YOU!

News Flash:  You are beautiful!  You are amazing!  You were created to be special.  Is is your destiny (and I say that in my best Darth Vadar voice ;-)

God made you the way you are for a reason.  You are where you are in life, for a reason.  You are reading this,  for a reason.

Our life on this earth is amazing!  We must appreciate it for all it's worth.  We are here for such a short time.  We have a limited time to love, to be loved, and to experience all that we can experience.

We will never realize just how strong we truly are.  We may never realize how beautiful we really are, or how miraculous our life really is.  

Thought of the Day:  I pray that today you will stop and think -- and realize ALL that you are!

May you have a blessed day! 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Spreading Some Sunshine

Spread Some Sunshine
Colleen Brooks

Spread some sunshine,
spread some cheer.
Spread some happiness
throughout the year.

Life is great - 
a gift, they say!
Make it special
for someone today.

Make someone happy,
make someone smile -
proof that your life
is worthwhile!

Have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Hearts for Joplin

My heart goes out to Joplin.  Truth be told, they are near our neck of the woods.  What can you do when such destruction and suffering are taking place?

Well, you can pray.  Prayer is always needed Prayer is a very underestimated gift in our society today.

Still, I knew I had to do more.  But I do not have the skill set of a paramedic, police officer, or a doctor which they were calling for.  Then I saw a local announcement stating that our town was collecting items, one of which was clothing.  Knowing that we have a small house and regularly donate - but also have five people, three of which are rapidly growing kids, I figured we could still find some things.  I put forth a hunt and left no closet or bureau unturned.  Seven bags later, I had found what I could do to help. 

Still, I felt like I could do more.  What else would I want if I was a tornado victim?  I would feel so... helpless.  I would want to know someone cared.  It was then I got the idea.

My daughter and I decided to make some "cards" to stick in the pockets of the jeans we were donating.  We folded an index card in half and drew a red heart on the front of it and wrote "You are Loved." Inside the card we put a message.  Messages varied, but here's a sampling:  "Praying for you," "Sending love from Oklahoma," "God Loves You," and "Praying for you and sending love."

We carefully placed these in the jean pockets so the victims would find them once they got our clothes.  In one pair, we lightly stapled a card in so it wouldn't get lost in the shallow pocket.  We put one inside a teddy bear that had a little pocket.  The one that touched us the most - in a boys size 8 jean pocket.

People that are going through tragedy need to know they are being cared for.  They need to know there is someone out there who understands, that someone is thinking of them - that the world is not a dark place.  They need to know there are people praying.

Thought of the Day:  The best thing we can do at any time for anyone is to pray and let them know they are loved.  We all have different skill sets.  What is yours?  Once you find out what it is, you'll be able to enjoy the beauty that comes with being able to do what feels right for you. 

Have a beautiful day!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Creating a Sanctuary

We all need a place to escape to.  Think about it:  where is the one place where you feel most at peace?  Where you know you are meant to be, and where you are truly happy?  Got it?  Now hold onto that thought...

I know its not possible for us to always be in "that place."  Vacations cost a lot of money, there is work, family, and many other obligations.   However, we still need a place to escape to within our home - a place where we can go to recharge and renew.  Because we all know life is not perfect.  We all need a sanctuary - do you have a space where you only allow good in?

Creating a sanctuary within your  home is very important.  I strongly suggest you make it in the bedroom, where you spend a good 1/3 of your day.  If it's not a peaceful place, you are missing the benefits of some serious relaxation.  Here are some steps to get you going on the right path:

     - I would suggest you begin by eliminating as many things as you can from your room.  A workspace in your bedroom is not conducive to relaxation.  Banish all projects, bills, paperwork, kids toys, laundry, etc.  Anything that does not promote relaxation needs to be relocated to a "working" part of the home.

     - Replace with things that DO promote relaxation -- you know that place of yours that you thought of in the beginning of this post?  Do you have pictures or souvenirs of that place?  This is how your sanctuary will come to life.  Anything that helps you relax - plants, candles, comfortable blankets, are all helpful options.  Do the same if you have an adjoining bathroom.  Make it as inviting and cozy as possible.  Make it like a mini-vacation from the working areas of your house.

     - Another helpful hint:  try not to watch violent shows (including the news) in your room.  This is supposed to be a peaceful place, remember?  Negative influences will disrupt the peaceful mood you are trying to create.  The same goes for arguments, stressful conversations and even kids running around.

Your sanctuary should be straightened every morning before you leave, so it is always relaxing and inviting when you return.  Fill it with fresh air as much as possible.

    Thought of the Day:  Do you have a sanctuary?  It does not have to cost a lot to create one, but will be a HUGE investment in living a more positive lifestyle.  Think about how you can incorporate your favorite place into an area within your home.  We get minimal time to relax in our lives - we've got to make it as beneficial as we can!

    Have a wonderful day!

    Friday, May 20, 2011

    The Way We View The World

    "The way we choose to see the world 
    creates what we see."
    Author Unknown

    I don't think I could possibly agree more with this quote.  The way we choose to see the world does create what we see.  Think about it:  If you only choose to see the negative, that is all you will see, while the positive things in life will just pass you by, unnoticed.

    The opposite is also true.  If you choose to only pay mind to the positive, the negative will mostly pass you by.  This is how I choose to live.  I can tell you from having been on the other side, this is a much better place.

    There will always be negative and positive parts to every day.  No matter what, every day is still a gift from God.  Given the choice, I'd rather focus on the positive things that happen each day.  It makes for a grateful heart.

    Thought of the Day:  How are YOU choosing to see YOUR world?  Is it producing positive results for you?  Once you start seeing only the positive things, you'll be surprised at just how many you see!

    Have a wonderful weekend!

    Thursday, May 19, 2011

    The Power of Many

    I have learned there is power in numbers.  What one can do, several can do faster.  When you combine many working together towards a common goal, the effects might astound you.

    Last month, I participated in a building a community garden.  Gardening and I don't exactly have a favorable past.  My attempts in recent years have amounted to a handful of beans, strawberries with bird bites in them, and rotten, moldy eggplants.  However somehow, my daughter who was 8 last summer was able to literally throw some cucumber seeds into the ground, and produce an abundant crop.  That's why I decided to participate.

    The community gardening project was eye opening because through it, I learned that when people unite to work together towards a common goal, amazing things happen.  Everyone donated their time and knowledge and worked together and empowered one another.  My garden at the community center is doing well.  Next year I will be able to build my garden in my backyard, with unprecedented results.

    Sometimes in life things seem complicated, and sometimes, they just are.  Life IS complicated.  We all have different strengths, knowledge, and skill sets.  When people join together, they can help one another and teach one another.  Together we can tackle many things, effortlessly.  I know what a difference it can make in the time it takes me to straighten my house alone, as opposed to when all five of us family members are working together.

    Thought of the day:  Is there some area of your life where you could use some help?  Feel free to reach out and ask for it.  Remember there is power in groups.  There is no shame in asking for help.  In the garden of life, it is sometimes beneficial to ask for help.

    Have a great day!

    Wednesday, May 18, 2011

    Inspirational People - Bethany Hamilton

    Bethany Hamilton is an amazing person.  For those of you who may not remember who she is, she is the surfer who was attacked by a 14-foot tiger shark when she was only 13 years old.  This attack took her left arm.  Her movie "Soul Surfer," is currently in theaters and is her story that follows her autobiography, "Soul Surfer:  A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on the Board."

    I remember seeing Bethany on the news when she was first attacked in 2003, and being struck by her beautiful and amazing attitude.  While many of us would be feeling sorry for ourselves under those circumstances, Bethany was beautiful and radiantly positive!

    There are so many things that impress me about this girl, that it's hard to even find a place to begin.  First of all, her calmness and faith in God during the shark attack were very moving.  She didn't scream or panic, which in no doubt saved her life.  She calmly warned the others of the shark, and prayed as they helped get her to safety.

    Despite losing her arm, Bethany returned to competitive surfing only three weeks after her attack.  It wasn't easy.  She had a tough time performing ordinary tasks.  Try opening a loaf of bread with one arm, cutting a tomato, or putting your hair up in a pony tail, not to mention surfing!   Within a few months however, she had placed 5th in the Open Women’s Division.  Just over a year after the attack, she won her first national title.  In 2007, Bethany turned pro.  Her biggest surfing accomplishment came as she finished second place in the ASP 2009 World Junior Championships.

    Bethany knew all along God had a plan for her, she just didn't know what it was yet. While volunteering in Thailand after the tsunami hit, she realized her mission was to help others.  The experience completely put things into perspective for her.  Currently, she is one of the top women surfers in the world.  When she's not surfing, she is trying to teach others through her involvement in many charities, through her inspiring and motivational books, interviews and appearances.  She has also understandably received numerous awards.

    Thought of the day:  The lessons we can learn from Bethany Hamilton and her story are countless.  Bethany's story tells us that if we work hard enough, nothing is impossible.  As she stated when trying to surf after her attack, "I don't need easy, I just need possible."

    A line from the movie sums it up quite nicely:  “When you get in the impact zone, get back up because you never know what’s over the next wave.”  This applies to ANYTHING we may experience in life! 

    Have a wonderful day!

    Tuesday, May 17, 2011

    The Importance of Nature

     "Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. 
    Nature's peace will flow into you 
    as sunshine flows into trees. 
    The winds will blow their own freshness into you 
    while cares will drop off like autumn leaves." 
    John Muir

    Pssst...wanna know a secret for almost everything that ails you?  Nature!

    The power of being out in nature is seriously underestimated in todays society.  Kids don't get enough of it.  We adults don't get enough of it.  I can never get enough of it!

    It is a proven fact that being in nature helps all kinds of things -- from psychological to medical ailments (don't tell me you haven't heard the correlation between Vitamin D deficiency and lack of sunlight).  Natures benefits are immeasurable.  I can honestly tell you that getting out in it lifts your spirits, clears your mind, eases your stress, and rekindles your motivation. 

    Anne Frank summed it up best:  "The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God.  Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles."

    Thought of the Day:  Are you allowing yourself to enjoy the gift of nature enough?  Make sure you are -- take a walk, or eat outside.  Have lunch at a park, go hiking, or spend time in the woods.  Better yet, exercise outside for double the benefits.  No matter how you do it, you will be surprised at how amazing you feel afterward!

    Have a wonderful day!

    Monday, May 16, 2011

    Our Greatest Gift

    Each day the sun rises and sets, giving us the gift of new possibilities.  If we weren't all that we strove to be the day prior, there is a chance to change that in the upcoming, new day.  This is God's gift to us.

    I am a work in progress.  Some days don't go exactly the way I want, we all have days like that.  So how lucky are we that we receive the gift of starting anew each day?  

    I tell my children that as long as you are alive, ANYTHING is possible.  The key is to keep striving towards becoming the person you want to be.  Don't allow yourself to get stuck in a rut, bust out of it!  This is YOUR life, after all, and you're in charge!  As long as you are progressing in the right direction, you are progressing.

    Mondays have their merits too - I know no one gets excited about them, but honestly, I need the rest from the chaos, fun and frolics of the weekend.  I need to regroup and restructure with my set of new goals.  If it weren't for Monday's, that just wouldn't happen.

    Mondays are a start of a new week -- and a new week is the start of another set of unlimited possibilities...May your Monday be just that!

    Have a wonderful day!

    Friday, May 13, 2011

    Living in Harmony

    "He who lives in harmony with himself 
    lives in harmony with the universe."
    Marcus Aurelius

    They say that the best place to start peace in the world, is to become at peace with yourself.  Very true.  We must be comfortable and at peace with who we are, to be able to spread peace into the world.

    To live harmoniously means respecting all living things -- whether it be people or animals, and it also means respecting this world that we live in.

    We can not live harmoniously or peacefully, without respecting others.  Nor can we achieve this by holding grudges, being angry, or hurting others. 

    We must start with ourselves by releasing all negative things that hold us back.  Once we do that and we accept ourselves, the sky is the limit!  We will be able to lead peaceful lives, living harminously with all other beings.  What a wonderful world that will be!

    Have a wonderful weekend!

    Wednesday, May 11, 2011

    Cultivating Positivity

    I've been coming across this saying a lot this week, so I felt it appropriate to share.  It reminds us to only keep company with thoughts we want, and habits that support the lifestyle we want to lead.  It also reminds us to keep positive thoughts and words if we are trying to lead a positive lifestyle, for negative thoughts and words will contradict what we are trying to achieve.  

    Amazing things can be produced from taking small steps and making small changes.  The power of belief is HUGE.  Essentially, we become what we believe.  Our beliefs must be in alignment with what we want and hope to achieve.  

    Anyway, I believe this little saying is very well statedEnjoy!

    Watch your thoughts, 
    they become words.

    Watch your words, 
    they become actions. 

    Watch your actions, 
    they become habits.

    Watch your habits, 
    they become character.

    Watch your character, 
    it becomes your destiny.

    Have a wonderful day!

    Traveling the Right Road

    A friend of mine recently said "There is a road that one chooses to travel, but always remember there is no turning back once you head down it."  I couldn't agree more.  You have to always look ahead - way ahead, to make sure it's the right road that has the right decisions and consequences for your life.

    I've seen so many instances lately of people who took the wrong road, and are still traveling around clueless.  It's like they are on the road to life, but without any sense of direction, or even a map.  What a tough place to place yourself!  

    If you wouldn't go on a trip across the country without a map, why would you travel on the road of life without first examining where you are going, and if the consequence of traveling in that direction will lead to a desirable outcome?  I know we've all done this in the past...but those who learn from their mistakes become wiser.  Those who don't, well, become lost.  

    We must remain strong and focused on our path.  Just as we wouldn't veer off to different directions if we were on a road trip, we shouldn't do that in life without first examining the consequences.  Only WE can be responsible for OUR life and OUR outcome.  There is no one else to blame.   

    Thought of the Day:  Are you on the right path?  Will the road you're traveling on lead to your desired outcome or location in life?  As one of the most phenomenal 70's band sang:  "There's still time to change the road you're on."  

    Have a great day!

    Tuesday, May 10, 2011

    Making an Impact

    I overheard a heartwarming conversation recently that I just had to share.  At a t-ball game, a coach from the opposing team approached a dad who was sitting beside me.  He recognized this guy as possibly being someone he met a long time ago when he was a kid/young teen.  Once he knew this guy was indeed who he thought, he proceeded to inquire about the gentleman's father. 

    I could tell the coach, who I would guess to be somwhere in his mid-late 30's,  had not seen the guy sitting next to me for around 20 years.  It seems the two guys had met once out of state - and that was the only time they'd ever known each other.  It also seemed like it could have been at some type of summer camp.  I got the impression the coach hardly knew the guy sitting next to me at all, but knew of his father more.  Anyway, the coach had a message he wanted relayed to this man's father. 

    This guy's dad had done something for this coach when he was younger when the two guys briefly knew each other.  The coach was very expressive to the guy sitting next to me that he tell his dad "...that was a very important thing at that time in my life," and that he really appreciated it.  He went on to say there was no one else to help him at that time.  WOW.

    Due to the sheer proximity of the seating, I had no choice but to overhear this conversation.  Wow, was I touched!  How lucky was I, that I was witnessing another act of kindness in a world where I feel I am always gifted by them!  It never gets old.

    What really touched me was that it was so important to this coach to get his message across, that he was compelled to approach this guy he hardly knew -  after all these years and in front of many spectators, to relay his message.  That's how greatly this gentleman's father had touched the coach's life.  You could tell it had made his day to run into this guy's son, to have this opportunity to get his message of thanks across. 

    It goes to show that when we reach out to others, we really don't realize the magnitude of our act of kindness.  We don't realize that its effects can last a lifetime, that someone can be eternally grateful for something that perhaps we didn't even think twice about at the time.

    Thought of the day:  We often don't realize what an impact we can make, or the impacts we have made.  We may not realize yet the magnitude of the impacts we hopefully will make.  We CAN be sure however - that if we are trying, we ARE changing lives for the better!

    Have a wonderful day!

    Monday, May 9, 2011

    Spreading Love

    Someone once said "Don't wait for people to be friendly, show them how."  I couldn't agree more!

    The world needs more love.  The people in the world need more love.  Love will make the world a better place, and it all starts with being friendly.  We never know what the person sitting next to us is going through...or what hardship a coworker may be experiencing.   Likewise, we will never know just how helpful a kind word or gesture can be.

    Smiles are contagious.  They have the amazing ability to spread and multiply.  Being friendly can go a long way into this world and change days, even lives.  People often pay forward what they receive.

    Thought of the Day:  Are you doing your part to spread love into the world?  It all starts with being friendly and a smile, or being nice to a stranger.  As you do your part, those you encounter will also pay it forward.

    Have a wonderful day!

    Friday, May 6, 2011

    Why Not You?

    I found this amazing piece by Steve Maraboli and thought you might enjoy.
    Today, many will awaken with a fresh sense of inspiration. Why not you?

    Today, many will open their eyes to the beauty that surrounds them. Why not you?

    Today, many will choose to leave the ghost of yesterday behind and seize the immeasurable power of today. Why not you?

    Today, many will break through the barriers of the past by looking at the blessings of the present. Why not you?

    Today, for many the burden of self doubt and insecurity will be lifted by the security and confidence of empowerment. Why not you?

    Today, many will rise above their believed limitations and make contact with their powerful innate strength. Why not you?

    Today, many will choose to live in such a manner that they will be a positive role model for their children. Why not you?

    Today, many will choose to free themselves from the personal imprisonment of their bad habits. Why not you?

     Today, many will choose to live free of conditions and rules governing their own happiness. Why not you?

    Today, many will find abundance in simplicity. Why not you?

    Today, many will be confronted by difficult moral choices and they will choose to do what is right instead of what is beneficial. Why not you?

    Today, many will decide to no longer sit back with a victim mentality, but to take charge of their lives and make positive changes. Why not you?

    Today, many will take the action necessary to make a difference. Why not you?

    Today, many will make the commitment to be a better mother, father, son, daughter, student, teacher, worker, boss, brother, sister, & so much more. Why not you?

    Today is a new day!  Many will seize this day.  Many will live it to the fullest.  
    Why not you?

    Have a wonderful weekend!

    Thursday, May 5, 2011

    The Power is Within YOU

    With everything that has happened to you, 
    you can either feel sorry for yourself 
    or treat what has happened as a gift.  
    Everything is either an opportunity to grow 
    or an obstacle to keep you from growing.  
    You get to choose. 
    Dr. Wayne Dyer

    Bad things happen.  They just do.  We all have big hurdles to leap over once we're out of the starting gate and we all have obstacles to overcome.  No one is exempt.

    It's what we do with these hurdles and obstacles, that determines HOW we will live.  Our response is a choice.  We CAN control how we respond.

    So often people forget that they can choose to make the best of any given situation.  We can accept that the situation is not as we would like it, and then agree to try to make it better.  Oftentimes, people make it worse.  What can you do if you're one of those people?  Well, start now.

    Tomorrow or next week is not the time to make things better, it's this very moment.  Once you start taking steps to improve your situation, the universe will also take steps to meet you half-way.  It's amazing how it works that way.

    Thought of the day:  I pray today that you will see yourself as strong, capable and worthy of changing.  There is no one that can change things for you.  Start today...the universe will meet you half-way!

    Have a wonderful day!

    Wednesday, May 4, 2011

    Charity Starts at Home

    A wise person recently stated that "charity starts at home."  Think about that for a's very true.

    In the grand scheme of things, we can make the most impact with the ones that we spend most of our time with -- our children and our spouse.  

    Our children need our attention, and they also need our direction.  They need us to show them the way.  They need us to show them how things should be done.  They are the future of this world we live in, and they can make the most difference.

    If we focus on the children, they will teach those they come in contact with...and so it will continue.  Our children will model what they observe at home - and teach not only their generation, but their children's generation. It will continue on to future generations from there.

    It does no good to expend our resources elsewhere, if we are neglecting those at home that need our help the most.  The starting point should always be at home...Love begins at home...peace begins at home...everything good begins at home.

    Once we are doing our part at home, we can move forward with our family, bringing our gifts to the world.  

    Thought of the Day:  Sharing and charity are wonderful gifts that we can give.  Make sure your starting point is always at home.  That's where love begins!

    Tuesday, May 3, 2011

    Inspirational People - "Elaina"

    They say every child is a gift from God, and I believe that to be 110% true.  Every child is a miracle, and every child is a phenomenal gift.  Elaina however, is even just a little more amazing than that.

    Elaina started her life a lot earlier than her parents had planned.  Her nursery had not even been prepared.  Her parents had just moved into a new home, and had thought they had another four months to get things together.  However, the warning signs started appearing, indicating that something was wrong.  The doctors put her mother on bed rest as a precaution, which then led to hospitalization.  That however, wasn't enough.  Elaina was born via an emergency c-section on a sunny, January morning.  We thought it was not her time...but we had yet to realize what Elaina was all about.

    When we received the call, we were told Elaina was only going to have a 40% chance of survival.  We drove to the hospital as quickly as we could, choked up with tears.  Later that day, it was increased to 50% -- still not the odds any of us were hoping for.  It just took one look at her to understand why - weighing in at only 1 lb 6 oz, Elaina was the smallest person I have ever seen.  It was a miracle that she was still alive, as they had to resuscitate her as soon as she was born.  Over the next few days, stuffed animals placed next to her looked enormous.  We learned that beanie babies were a closer match in size.

    They told her parents that if Elaina did survive, she was sure to have delays -- possible blindness/trouble with her vision, developmental delays and braces for her legs as she got older were the main concerns.  Elaina's parents did what most parents would do in that type of situation - they took it day-by-day...and prayed!  It was a very rocky road for several months, leaving her parents mentally and physically exhausted.  The day she left the hospital just two weeks shy of her original due date was an amazing victory, beyond that which words can describe!

    Elaina recently celebrated her third birthday.  Her parents are the proud parents of a perfect 3-year old!  In fact, her parents and her younger sister have a difficult time keeping up with her!  Elaina has no delays at all.  When she wants something, there is no stopping her.  She is extremely focused and quite a little fighter.  She has determination unlike anyone I've ever seen.  Just try telling her no; she'll find a way to get what she wants and show you she can do otherwise.  It's that same, amazing spirit she first demonstrated in the NICU.

    They say that every child is a gift from God and Elaina is certainly that.  She radiates beauty wherever she goes, and is truly like a ray of sunshine in the lives of those around her.  It's amazing to think that she once used to fit in the palm of her fathers hand.  Quite ironic now considering that the world is now in her hands!

    Elaina being a stinker, a week before her third birthday

    May you see that the possibilities in this life are endless.  May you always have hope.  May you remember Elaina's story when you feel that there is something you can not do.  For if Elaina can accomplish all that she has in her tiny three years, anything is possible in your world!

    Have a wonderful day!

    Monday, May 2, 2011

    The Kindness of Others

    There is kindness in the world all around us.  It can turn a normal day or experience into something really special and unexpected.  It can certainly make the world a better place.

    Truth be told, I was touched by the kindness of others this weekend.  After feeling burnt out at the very start of my weekend with too much to do, I thought what I really needed to do was focus on getting everything done.  However, this was actually the problem and not the solution.  There were other plans taking shape for me.

    Through the kindness of others, I ended up having a phenomenal day on Saturday, doing exactly what I needed to be doing - which surprisingly, had nothing to do with my to-do list.  Instead, it consisted of driving around in the country, feeding calves and cows and playing with the bulls in the warm, fresh air - with a friend who generously donated his time so that my family and I could enjoy.  

    Through the kindness of others, I was able to photograph our visit with the bulls and calves, even through the batteries in our camera died just a short time into our visit.

    Through the kindness of others, I was also able to purchase a beautiful wallet at a local rodeo that my daughter really wanted for her birthday, even though they only accepted cash and we were $1.80 short after hitting the concession stands several times.

    Through the kindness of others, I was still able to get most of my work done anyway - on our rainy, stay-home day.

    The kindness of others can be a pretty powerful gift.   The kindness in the world can really be astounding if you are not too busy to notice it.  It is all around us. I hope that you will be able to recognize the kindness of others when appears before you.  May you not be too busy, too rushed, or too focused to see the gift that is before you.  After, may you pass it on so that others too, may enjoy...

    Have a wonderful Monday!