Changing the World Through Kindness

Photo Credit: Troth God of Knowledge via CC Flickr
Photo Credit: Troth God of Knowledge via CC Flickr

One of my favorite TV shows that I used to enjoy watching when I was a kid, was about this friendly, caring and compassionate man who loved to share the good things in life and his positive personal thoughts with us kids…Mr. Fred Rogers, host of “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood”.

He always had this kind and gentle way of explaining the important and every-day-things of life in entertaining and educational ways. I used to think that it must have been really a cool thing to live in a neighborhood like that. Unfortunately, or course, the neighborhood wasn’t real and “life” was a lot harder and different from the way it was portrayed. 

The one thing that I learned the most from watching most of his shows, something that I still try to do every day…even now…is to show kindness and compassion to other people…especially individuals that were less fortunate than me.

One of the best examples that I ever saw of the great, beautiful kindness of Mr. Roger’s was the following video clip of Mr. Rogers and a little crippled boy in his wheelchair named Jeff Erlanger in 1981. The result of this interview and the way Fred Roger’s spoke and treated Jeff during this time, changed Jeff’s life forever.

Twenty years later, Fred Rogers was nominated to the TV Hall of Fame. During the H.O.F dinner something magical and beautiful happened…which you will see in this video.

It WILL touch your heart and hopefully, illustrate to you the fantastic power of showing kindness and compassion to others…just be sure to have a box of tissues with you…you’ll need them 🙂

How can YOU change YOUR world through kindness?

Life is Hard….

Photo Credit: Loren Kerns via CC Flickr
Photo Credit: Loren Kerns via CC Flickr

There are thousands upon thousands of books, articles, and countless other kinds of information which tell us how to deal with the hardships of life.

Sometimes, it is the simple thoughts and / or stories that will remind us the most of the important things in life that we can use to remember. 

Thus is the reason for today’s short story.

Is your life hard? Are you struggling with some difficult situations right now? Hopefully, today’s little tale will help you make your life a little easier.

A farmer had a dog who used to sit by the roadside waiting for vehicles to come around. As soon as one came he would run down the road, barking and trying to overtake it. One day a neighbor asked the farmer “Do you think your dog is ever going to catch a car?” The farmer replied, “That is not what bothers me. What bothers me is what he would do if he ever caught one.”

Many people in life behave like that dog who is pursuing meaningless goals.

Life is hard by the yard, 
but by the inch, 
it’s a cinch. 

–Gean Gordon

Pictures That Speak Volumes #62

Photo Credit: Timetobreak.com
Photo Credit: Timetobreak.com

I have always found it interesting when people complain about “how bad they have it”…whether it be at work, a job, at home, etc. What we quite often forget is how awful and depressing conditions are for other people that live around the world.

Take for example today’s picture of a mine worker who is required to work under atrocious and dangerous conditions every day…quite often just making a few cents or dollars a day. Notice the fingers of the worker in the picture above and observe how black they are.

So, take some time today to be thankful for all of the blessings that you have been given and say a quick prayer (or you may want to do something) for people living around the world in tough decisions everyday!

The Perfect Dog

Photo Credit: Alex Brown via CC Flickr
Photo Credit: Alex Brown via CC Flickr

A day or so ago, I came across a short story “The Perfect Dog” written by Jan Peck, a contributor of the book, “Chicken Soup for the Kid’s Soul” that I thought was a beautiful short story that should be shared with you. It is a sad fact, that in the eyes of some people, they believe either that they or others are ugly, unattractive or worthless. They short-change themselves, become pessimistic, unenthusiastic, and develop a harmful degree of low self-esteem and self-worth.

The important thing that we all need to remember is this…we are all a unique individual and creation. There is NO ONE in the world that is EXACTLY like you. Like I said, you are an original..not a copy. Maybe more importantly, there are people all around us that will love you JUST THE WAY YOU ARE…regardless how you look. We all need to remember things like this and there is no better way to illustrate this concept then today’s story!

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During summer vacations, I would volunteer at the vet’s, so I’d seen a lot of dogs. Minnie was by far the funniest-looking dog I’d ever seen. Thin curly hair barely covered her sausage-shaped body. Her bugged-out eyes always seemed surprised. And her tail looked like a rat’s tail.

She was brought to the vet to be put to sleep because her owners didn’t want her anymore. I thought Minnie had a sweet personality, though. “No one should judge her by her looks,” I thought. So the vet spayed her and gave her the necessary shots. Finally, I advertised Minnie in the local paper: “Funny-looking dog, well behaved, needs loving family.”

When a young man called, I warned him that Minnie was strange looking. The boy on the phone told me that his grandfather’s sixteen-year-old dog had just died. They wanted Minnie no matter what. I gave Minnie a good bath and fluffed up what was left of her scraggly hair. Then we waited for them to arrive.

At last, an old car drove up in front of the vet’s. Two kids raced to the door. They scooped Minnie into their arms and rushed her out to their grandfather, who was waiting in the car. I hurried behind them to see his reaction to Minnie.

Inside the car, the grandfather cradled Minnie in his arms and stroked her soft hair. She licked his face. Her rattail wagged around so quickly that it looked like it might fly off her body. It was love at first lick.

“She’s perfect!” the old man exclaimed.

I was thankful that Minnie had found the good home that she deserved.

That’s when I saw that the grandfather’s eyes were a milky white color – he was blind.

Where is Your Treasure Stored?

Photo Credit: Shad Bollin via CC Flickr
Photo Credit: Shad Bollin via CC Flickr

I once heard a fantastic, short story which gave me a perspective on life that I still use to this day. As in one of my previous blogs “The Garbage Truck Principle”, I enjoy sharing things that I feel may help other people. It is again my hope that today’s posting will, in some way; help you or someone you know, look at life from a different point of view.

One day, many years ago, one of the richest men in the world decided to take the wise man of a village on a hike to the top of one of the tallest mountains. After packing up their supplies and hiking for several days, they finally reached the peak.

The rich man, filled with pride, smugness, and conceit, pointed all around him then said to the wise man, “look around you as far as you can.” “Look to the west, then to the east, the north and south.” “Everything that you see, I own.” “I have spent my entire life acquiring more wealth and riches than any other person in the world.” “Do you see that huge flock of cattle over there?” as he motioned his hand down to the valley. “They are mine” he gloated. “Do you see all of the cities down there scattered around the countryside? I own them too.” “I have more riches and treasures than anyone could ever know!”

The rich man then looked directly into the wise man’s eyes and asked the old man, “and where are your riches and treasures?”

The quiet old wise man then smiled and simply pointed up to the sky and said, “THAT is where my treasure is stored!”

Folks, we all need to understand that while having money and other nice things in life are good to have but they are not the most important things. You see, the most important things in life are not the things that you see but the things that you don’t see. The focus in our lives should not be in how many things that we can get, how much money we earn, or other material items we own…they should be on the stuff we can’t perceive…like how we act and treat others, love our family and friends, and worship God.

We should always strive to lay up our treasures with God for someday, if we remain faithful, He will be the one that will honor us for entrusting Him with our hopes and treasures. Why? Because every man is mortal. It was once said that we will leave this earth the same way we entered it. In other words, we came into the world with nothing and will leave it with nothing. The most important things will be where we decide to store our treasures and what our legacies will be to our loved ones.

Where have you been storing your TRUE riches, treasures, and wealth? If you are like the wise man, you will know where it should go!

The Garbage Truck Principle

Photo Credit: P. Gordon via CC Flickr
Photo Credit: P. Gordon via CC Flickr

There are many kinds of people that we come in contact with each day. Some people have encouraging, positive, and happy personalities, some have quiet and soothing behaviors, while still others, have just plain mean, nasty, and miserable people.

Personally, I am the kind of person that enjoys helping, encouraging, and uplifting others.  Nothing “makes my day” more than making someone smile or going out of my way to hold a door open for someone, cutting someone’s lawn, or, believe it or not, pay for an anonymous person’s meal or their food at the check out line in a supermarket. Why? Because it makes me happy…it brings me joy…it’s the strength of what I do.

You may be wondering why I am revealing these thoughts with you. The reason is simple…I would like to share a principle, a theory with you that I once heard, that affected the way that I react when certain people “lose their cool.” It’s called the “Garbage Truck Principle.”

The “Garbage Truck Principle” goes something like this… there are some people in today’s world that are like Garbage Trucks. They are filled with all kinds of “garbage”, anger, resentment, rage, hatred and other poisonous feelings. They fill themselves with all kinds of trash until they can’t take any more. The result? They look for something or someone to dump their trash onto. These individuals “explode” by yelling, screaming, shouting, or displaying hurtful actions towards others.

There are a couple of ways to deal with the “Garbage Trucks” which will help us stay positive and prevent them from robbing us of the joy we have. First, don’t allow these negative people to dump the trash on you. When you meet a person that is filled with these poisonous emotions, avoid them. Don’t react to them by what you say or do…just ignore them and move on. Remember, they are looking for a place to dump their trash. Second, be mentally strong. Make up and prepare your mind in advance when you do come across a Garbage Truck, you will not allow them to steal your joy. You will not allow them to take control of your actions or emotions. You have better things to do with your life than to waste it on these people. Remember, you are not a garbage dump. You are special, one-of-a-kind person, that was put on this earth to be an encouragement and help towards others.

Lastly, don’t become a garbage truck! Don’t allow the negative experiences and hurtful things in life make you bitter, angry, and resentful. Turn your negative thoughts into positive ones. Instead of seeing what people can do for you…change your thinking…”what can I DO for others?” You will find your life will be more fulfilling and meaningful.

Remember…Don’t Be A Garbage Truck!!

Finding Strength in Difficult Times

There are times throughout our lives when things or circumstances can get so difficult…that our dreams or goals seems totally unreachable. But, the difference between an extraordinary person and an ordinary person…is that little EXTRA! 

There are also times that we need that one special person to help us “pull through” the tough situation that we may experiencing and encourage us to “fight on” and overcome our diversity.

It is my hope, that this incredible video will touch your heart, soul, and mind and encourage you to stay strong when you feel your weakest.

Regrets of the Dying

Photo Credit: John Trumbull via Qikimedia
Photo Credit: John Trumbull via Qikimedia

I have bad news for you…someday you are going to pass away. We all are. It is just a part of life. The million dollar question is…how well are we living the life that we have been given? Are we doing everything that we can do to help others? Make a difference in this world? Are we satisfied with the way that we are living our lives? Is our soul at ease and at peace? Have you achieved all of your life’s goals and have done everything that you wanted to do?

Well, if you have answered “no” to a few of the questions that I previously mentioned, then I have GREAT NEWS…you still have time to do the things that you may want to do (or at least some of them). No one wants to pass from this earth or lay on their death bed, regretting the things that they could have done in their life or the ways that they could have treated others (or themselves) when they were still able to do so.

I read an article a week or so ago on Tip News (DNA, March 12, 2014) that talked about the regrets of the dying. It made me really think how fast my life is going and how life passed these people by, so fast, that they never had a chance to do the things that they always wanted to do and suffered great regret because of it. It is my hope and prayer that after you read the following article, it will inspire you to live your life in such a way, that in the end, you will have no regrets. What will you decide to do?

“For many years I worked in palliative care. My patients were those who had gone home to die. Some incredibly special times were shared. I was with them for the last three to twelve weeks of their lives.

People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality. I learnt never to underestimate someone’s capacity for growth. Some changes were phenomenal. Each experienced a variety of emotions, as expected, denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. Every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them.

When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honored even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.

It is very important to try and honor at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realize, until they no longer have it.

2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.

This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.

By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.

We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

Often they would not truly realize the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.

It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It is all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.

When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.

Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly.

Choose happiness.”

Ten Ways to Love

Photo Credit: Aussiegall via CC Flickr
Photo Credit: Aussiegall via CC Flickr

A while ago, I saw this great list of things that can help all of us to love others in effective ways. I thought that they were something that I would like to share with you. It is my hope that they help you as you search for different ways to love.

1. Listen without interrupting. (Proverbs 18)
2. Speak without accusing. (James 1:19)
3. Give without sparing. (Proverbs 21:26)
4. Pray without ceasing. (Colossians 1:9)
5. Answer without arguing. (Proverbs 17:1)
6. Share without pretending. (Ephesians 4:15)
7. Enjoy without complaint. (Philippians 2:14)
8. Trust without wavering. (1 Corinthians 13:7)
9. Forgive without punishing. Colossians 3:13)
10. Promise without forgetting. (Proverbs 13:12)
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Source: FaceBook

The Lesson of Growing Good Corn

Photo Credit: snowsoulmate via Flickr
Photo Credit: snowsoulmate via Flickr

There was a Nebraska farmer who grew award-winning corn. Each year he entered his corn in the state fair where it won a blue ribbon…

One year a newspaper reporter interviewed him and learned something interesting about how he grew it. The reporter discovered that the farmer shared his seed corn with his neighbors. 

“How can you afford to share your best seed corn with your neighbors when they are entering corn in competition with yours each year?” the reporter asked.

“Why sir,” said the farmer, “didn’t you know? The wind picks up pollen from the ripening corn and swirls it from field to field. If my neighbors grow inferior corn, cross-pollination will steadily degrade the quality of my corn. If I am to grow good corn, I must help my neighbors grow good corn.”

He is very much aware of the connectedness of life. His corn cannot improve unless his neighbor’s corn also improves.

So it is in our world. Those who choose to be at peace must help their neighbors to be at peace. Those who choose to live well must help others to live well, for the value of a life is measured by the lives it touches. And those who choose to be happy must help others to find happiness for the welfare of each is bound up with the welfare of all. 

The lesson for each of us is this: if we are to grow good corn, we must help our neighbors grow good corn.

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Source:Indianchild.com

When Life Gets You Down…

Life is a funny thing. There are times when a person feels great about themselves; their self-esteem is at its all-time high, and everything in the world looks and feels as beautiful as a cool, crisp fall day…nothing can be better.

Then come the “down times” in life; the moments in life when an individual feels like they are beaten, battered and worthless. It seems as though nobody cares about what they say (or do), their self-confidence is gone and life just appears to be going nowhere.

It is during these rough times that two kinds of people are made; ones that dwell on the negative and are forever stuck in the quagmire of worthlessness and self-doubt or the folks that deal with bad situations by determining what they can learn from their situation and use it in a positive way to help themselves and to encourage others.

In today’s story, see how ONE PERSON saw a heartbreaking situation and decided to do something encouraging…and notice the effect it had not only on the individual that was dealing with the hardship but how it affected the other people around him. What started out as an individual act of kindness turned into an experience in which a group got involved and turned the depressing situation into a fantastic experience for everyone that was involved.

Also, observe the effect it had on the person that was receiving the encouragement. It’s truly amazing when you watch the effect of what a group of people, all focused on one goal in a positive manner, can accomplish.

The power of positive thinking, encouraging others and the ability not to stay “bogged down”, not only allows a person to feel better about themselves, but demonstrate an act of compassion that can not only help themselves but enhance other peoples feeling of worth.

So, the next time you are “down and out” and life throws you a “curve ball” (or even if you are enjoying a “high” in life)…think to yourself…what am I doing with the gifts and abilities that I have been blessed to have? Am I going to wallow in self-pity or am I going to decide to try and make a difference in another person’s life and be an encouragement to the people and friends around you…like the one man started in the video?

What can you do when your life is gloomy and ominous?? Help and encourage other people. You will be surprised how quickly your view on your life will change.

So…what are you going to do? The choice is yours.