Former Homeless Man Returns the Favor

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Back in 2016 in Belfast, Ireland, Pastor John Greenaway and his family helped out a homeless man named Melvin Boyd, inviting Melvin to live in their home.

Pastor Greenaway says “I believed Melvin needed a new start in life, we wanted to help him.”

The Greenaway family helped Mr Boyd to beat his alcohol addiction and start over.

Since then, Mr Boyd has stayed at the family home every day and night, and has become another son to the pastor, and his wife, who already have four children.

Last March, he repaid the pastor for his generosity by donating one of his kidneys to him.
Pastor Greenaway had kidney failure and had been on dialysis for almost a year before the operation.

He had three offers from other people to donate an organ, but none of them had worked out. That’s when Mr Boyd stepped in.

Melvin says,  “The biggest thing about it was God bringing us together. I believe it was meant to be.”

Both Pastor John and Melvin have recovered from the operation and both are thankful that they have such a unique bond. John ended up with a new lease on life — and Melvin ended up with a new family, filled with love and support.

It sure sounds like God was all over this situation. Sometimes, we just have to listen to God calling us and be obedient to the calling.

Get the full story including pictures HERE

 

I’ve Started a New Job

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(photo: www.livethelife.org)

 

So, many of you might have been wondering why I’m cutting back on my usual daily podcasts. Well, I’ll tell you. I have accepted a job with a non-profit organization called “Live the Life”, which works with local churches in the communities they serve to…among other things, reduce the divorce rate. They do this by helping to establish and promote marriage ministries largely in local churches.

The job I will be tasked with is to help reduce the divorce rate in Panama City and Bay County by 50 percent. Did you know that Panama City has more divorces per capita than any other city in the entire country? That’s right, Panama City is the divorce capital of the United States.

Why is this such an important mission? Because in communities  where there is marital success, children enjoy better physical and emotional health, greater success in school and there’s lower rates of crime, domestic violence, and teen pregnancy. Conversely, where there are great rates of marital failure there’s more domestic violence, more sexual assault, higher delinquency and crimes, higher rates of suicides, and many societal ills.**

I could really use your prayers as I embark on this mission. I feel like this job is an answered prayer and would allow me, God willing, to make a huge impact in our local community, and possibly neighboring communities as well.

Meanwhile, I will be doing my best to keep bringing you encouragement, inspiration, and practical tips through this little blog and podcast. Until then, THANK YOU in advance for your prayers. May God richly bless you and your family!

 

**Source: Administration for Children and Families, Health and Human Services, Washington D.C.

 

7-Year-Old Florida Girl Saves Family From House Fire

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“And a child shall lead them”. How many times have we heard that one? Well, in this case it’s true. According to WEAR in Pensacola, Tracy Durant said she remembered the fire safety tips she learned in school when her family’s Escambia County home caught on fire.. The fire broke out when Tracy’s 13-year-old cousin, Shemaiah, was cooking on the stove.

“It looked like when the stove was on and it came up top and then it kept getting bigger and bigger,” Tracy told WEAR of the flames. “I didn’t want us to get killed.”

Little Tracy’s parents weren’t home at the time, so she ran to a neighbor’s house for help, asking to use their phone to call the fire department. Everyone was able to escape the home, including Shemaiah and their 11-month-old cousin. Shemaiah was taken to a local hospital in serious condition but is expected to survive, WEAR reports.

Tracy’s grandmother  told WEAR that the family is proud of Tracy. The little girl praised her teacher for her fire safety skills. “She said one day I would be a hero,” Tracy recalled. “I wanted to start practicing now.”

God bless little Tracy and her family. Please pray for them as they recover from this.

This story does remind us all to take inventory and ask if our family would be safe from fire. Do you have the basics of fire prevention like working smoke alarms and a fire extinguisher? Do you have a fire safety escape plan? If not, get one RIGHT HERE. 

As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Just ask little Tracy.

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The Benefits of Loving Like Jesus

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(photo: www.timtebowfoundation.org)

One of THE best books I’ve ever read is called “Jesus Prom: Life Gets Fun When You Love People Like God Does” by Jon Weece. It’s really a primer on how to get in the habit of loving people like Jesus did. The book’s author, Jon Weece, has so many wonderful nuggets of truth like “As adults, we’ve become a culture of human doings, when we were designed to live as human beings...the verb to be is a verb that flows from the blueprint of our Designer.”

At the heart of this wonderful little book is how to put love into action. Jon Weece says “one of the best ways to start a conversation is with a question: Is there anything I can do for you today? It’s quite biblical, really. Paul exhorts us to “share each other’s troubles and problems” (Galatians 6:2 TLB).

Weece says “the alarm on my phone rings at 3:16 every day in honor of John 3:16. Jesus died so I can live. So at 3:16 every day, I sent a text or an e-mail to someone I know, letting them know that I love them.

It’s really pretty simple, the more loving you are to others, the more love you will receive.

Weece is the head pastor at Southland Community Church, and every year that have what they call “Jesus Prom”, it’s basically a night for folks with special needs to enjoy the FULL prom experience. The Tim Tebow Foundation offers something just like that, called “Night to Shine”. One one night, churches across the world give a once in a lifetime experience to tens of thousands of these honored guests.

For my Bay County, Florida friends, If you’d like to be part of this weekend’s “Night to Shine” event, they probably still need male volunteers to help make this night truly special. For more on that click HERE

I hope you can volunteer. I hope you can read this book. Because wouldn’t the world be a MUCH better place if we all learned to love like Jesus did?

 

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Man with Alzheimer’s Forgets He’s Married, Proposes and ‘Weds’ Wife Again in Tearful Ceremony

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I know first hand the day to day struggle of caring for a loved one with declining memory. My father came to live with our family back in 2010 after he had been afflicted with dementia, and those were some of the most stressful, but also some of the most joyful and bittersweet times of my life. You never knew what each day would bring, and it taught us alot about flexibility and sacrifice.

There’s a wonderful story in People.com about Michael and Linda Joyce. Alzheimer’s disease has taken Michael memory. But there’s one thing he’s remembered after all these years: he’s head over heels in love with his wife, Linda.

68 year old Michael was diagnosed with the illness in 2010, and has forgotten that he and Linda married in 1984. So, he proposed to his wife again — and the New Zealand couple wed a second time near a picturesque lake in their Frankton neighborhood.

“He got up, but he looked different. He looked quite anxious, like he was trying to tell me something. I jumped up and I held his hand and I said, ‘What’s wrong, darling? What are you trying to say?’ ” Linda tells PEOPLE, noting that Michael’s ability to speak is very limited. “He said, ‘Will you marry me?’ I was absolutely blown away … I said, ‘Of course!’ and his eyes filled up and he held me.”

Last Saturday, they renewed their vows in front of their loved ones in an emotional ceremony.. “When I had to repeat my vows, I was very emotional and my voice broke,” she tells PEOPLE. “I said I was going to love and honor him through sickness and through health, ’til death do us part — and that’s the part that choked me up.” Linda says, “I was overjoyed, overwhelmed and very ecstatic. I really was. I was elated,” she says. “Michael was completely relaxed and happy.”

She says, “It’s been very difficult physically and emotionally. You’ve always had this partner that you shared everything with. Decision making … I don’t have that with Michael. I have to make all the decisions for both of us because he doesn’t have the ability to communicate verbally. There’s no conversations between us anymore,” she tells PEOPLE.

She adds: “If I lost him I’d be absolutely, totally devastated. He’s my world.”

This story makes us all reassess what love is truly all about. God bless you Linda for your sacrifice and all the wonderful care you show your husband. We should all hope to be so blessed.

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(photo: www.peopledotcom.files.wordpress.com)

 

 

Take The Kindness Challenge!

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(photo: www.smallactofkindness.files.wordpress.com)

 

I think we would all agree that the world would be a much better place if we were all more kind to each other. So, just how kind do you think you are? Here’s a little quiz that should tell you exactly how kind or unkind you are. I would encourage you to take the quiz before and after you take “The 30 Day Kindness Challenge”. This little challenge is actually no little challenge. It’s part of a national research project from Shaunti Feldhahn , author of the book “The Kindness Challenge”. I highly encourage you to read the book, but even more so, I would encourage you to take “The 30 Day Kindness Challenge”.

Shaunti asserts that kindness doesn’t just change the person you are being kind to, it also changes you. She says that kindness is almost a kind of “superpower” that has the ability to “make you bulletproof”, “give you x-ray vision”, “melt through walls”, “makes the invisible visible”, and much more. In short, kindness changes lives. It’s certainly not the only thing you need to have a healthy relationship, but it is vital to the health of any relationship.

Now, granted this is tough challenge, but it may be one of the most important challenges you ever take. In short, here it is:

Pick someone with whom you want or need a better relationship. For the next 30 days, do the following three things:

1/Say nothing negative about them, either to them or about them to anyone else. 

2/Every day, find one positive thing that you can sincerely praise or affirm about your person and tell them, and tell someone else.

3/Every day, do a small act of kindness or generosity for that person. 

Shaunti says that these 3 aspects of kindness are like “three chemical elements that, when they come together, react and build something different, something remarkably beautiful, powerful, and above all, transformative.”

So, go ahead, take the challenge, and strengthen those kindness muscles. You may just be amazed at the results!

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Kid Becomes Governor With His Anti-Bullying Platform

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(photo: primaryclassroomresources.co.uk)

I read a cool story about how an 11 year old boy was just elected Oregon’s first “kid governor” after running on an Anti-Bullying platform. The Anti-Bullying movement has really picked up steam in the last few years, and it’s really one of the only issues that most of us agree on these days. As parents in a social media charged world, bullying is something we all have to be conscious of, and we have to be vigilant about it both with our kids and others kids that we know.

Fifth grader Dom Peters gave his inaugural address, through which he highlighted his platform to combat bullying, sharing that he, himself, has been a victim. Peters also highlighted his “three-point plan”, which includes writing a book and encouraging his peers to write books as well. How about that? An 11 year old with a 3 point plan!

Peters says that  he’s experienced bullying in the form of verbal abuse as well as physical, even coming home with a black eye once. He also says that he witnessed a friend “getting beat up” once and immediately ran between the two kids, told his friend to run away, and held the bully back.
“I told him to stop and said I’d tell his parents and our coaches if he didn’t stop.”  What courage that is.

One of the ways Peters plans to combat this problem in his school is to share a book that he’s currently writing. His book is about a puppy who is hurting inside, but once everyone learns of his pain, they are kind to him and he learns to be kind back. He also shares that he has started a club at his school called the “Super Kind Helpers Club” and reports that many of his schoolmates have joined. The club meets at recess to practice kindness and ensure that everyone has someone to play with.
Don’t you think that more than a few grown ups could learn from this kid?

Congratulations Dom Peters! You are an inspiration to us all.

If you’d like to start your OWN anti-bullying campaign, CLICK HERE.

36 Best Anti Bullying Quotes For Kids Images On Pinterest

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23-Year-Old Becomes A Father And A Grandfather Overnight

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Meet Tommy Connolly. He’s just your average ordinary 23 year old college student who was spending his days training to become a champion sprinter when he got a message on Facebook that changed his life.

It was from his 17-year-old cousin who he hadn’t seen in a decade. It turned out she was 32-weeks pregnant, homeless, shoeless and had only a backpack full of clothes. Her baby was going to be taken from her when he was born and the father was in prison.

So Tommy took her in and wound up adopting her, and in doing so, became her son Kaydan’s grandfather, as well as his first cousin once removed.

It’s a truly amazing story, which you can read in full HERE.

In one Facebook message, Tommy’s whole life was forever changed. Now, he’s supporting a daughter and a grandson, and still working hard to earn his degree.

His story is so moving, it’s taking the internet by storm. People are so touched by Tommy’s tale that in just 18 days, they’ve raised over $40,000 to help support him.

I love this quote from Tommy, who says:

“When bad things happen, it’s your family that supports you.. It means no one gets left behind or forgotten. I’ve had my family pull my head out of the gutter before… It was time to pay it forward. Family comes first.”

Even with his many new responsibilities, Tommy is still sprinting and he does real estate too.

It’s just another fantastic example of what happens when you step out of your comfort zone and “love your neighbor as yourself” just like the story of The Good Samaritan.

Thank you Tommy. You inspire us all! The question for us is, would we do the same? I’ll bet if you asked Tommy if he’d do it again, he’d give you a resounding “YES”.

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Two Ways To Start Your Day Off Right!

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Believe me, despite the fact that I spent the better part of nearly 30 years in radio hosting a morning show, I am by no means a morning person. I’ll bet that most of you would say the same. If you’re one of those people that starts the day like a complete zombie, let me offer you two suggestions to try.

The first might seem a little weird, but I’ve seen expert after expert emphasize the importance of starting your day by drinking a glass of water. Now, hear me out. I’m not suggesting that you forego your morning rush of caffeine. Far from it. I’m merely telling you that experts suggests YET AGAIN that you drink that nice tall, cool glass of H2O first.

They offer many reasons why this is so crucial. First, they say that the time you spend in bed — anywhere from seven to nine hours, depending on your sleep needs — is a long time to go without water. Because of this, you may be dehydrated and crabby when you wake up in the morning. Water can help with that.

Also, health experts say that drinking at least 16 ounces of water first thing in the morning can boost your metabolism by 24 percent. I don’t know about you, but my metabolism could sure use a boost.

Secondly, start your day with a grateful heart. Before you think about all the things that you need to tackle for the day, just spend a few moments giving thanks. Be grateful you are alive for another day. Be grateful you have a roof over your head. Be grateful for a nice warm place to lay your head at night. Give thanks for all the opportunities the day ahead will present. Just give gratitude a chance to overtake your mood. Trust me, it’s a serious attitude adjustment. And when you start your day feeling overwhelmingly blessed, you can’t help but have a great day.

So, try those two things to start your mornings this week, and see if that doesn’t make a big difference in your attitude and overall well being. I’ll be right there with you!

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The 1 Thing Missing From Most Marriages

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Justin Davis and his wife Trisha have a marriage blog called www.refineus.org. Justin was asked at signing of their book call “Beyond Ordinary: When a Good Marriage Just Isn’t Enough” what is the one avoidable mistake you see couples make that I can learn from? After dealing with initial pressure of having to pinpoint just one thing, Justin wisely answered that the one thing missing from most marriages is gentleness.

There really is such wisdom in that. Philippians 4:5 exhorts us to “let your gentleness be evident to all”. So, what exactly IS true gentleness? Well, Justin says it’s a disposition. The dictionary defines gentleness as “the quality of being kind, tender, or mild-mannered.” Justin says in your marriage relationship that “gentleness refuses to give level ten responses to level two issues”. Gentleness, also translated “meekness,” in the Bible does not mean weakness. We know true gentleness when we see it, it is strength under control. We are all strong. We are all powerful. We can speak words to influence others and act in ways that help or hurt others.  True gentleness contains the power that we have and uses it for good, and not evil.

Justin says “Harshness might make someone obedient or compliant, but gentleness wins their heart.”

Many of us are familiar with the scripture passage from Galatians 5:22-23 which says:

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

For those of us who follow God, the longer we do walk with Him, the more gentle we should become. Truth is, we should strive to show gentleness not just in our marriage relationship, but in all our relationships. Think how that would impact our world?

 

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